Carol of the Belles

Living in northern England, the Queen has had a falling out with her Southern cousins. They sing in a group called The Christmas Belles and have grown popular by changing the lyrics of familiar carols to reflect the joys of Southern cooking and Southern living.  Among other things, the Queen thinks songs about warm, sunny weather while she freezes in a gray northern winter can be … grating. This script is lightly-interactive with the audience, easy to pull off, and a fun shout-out to our Southern friends, bless their little hearts.

Cast Size: 2 Males, 5 Females, 1 M/F, Extras M/F

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CAROL OF THE BELLES

A Madrigal Dinner Script for 2 Males, 5 Females, 1 M/F, Extras M/F

CHARACTERS

JESTER (M/F) professional funnyman who does not understand Southerners

FIONA (F) kitchen maid in a desperate search for butter

KING (M) he loves Southern Christmas music

QUEEN (F) cousin of the Belles, she has had an ongoing feud with them for some reason

THE CHRISTMAS BELLES:

BARBELLE (F) the smart one of the group who passed the bar

DUMBBELLE (F) she’s not a heavyweight in the brains department

DOORBELLE (F) she knows how to make an entrance

COWLBELLE (M) a monk with a chip on his shoulder: a chip monk

EXTRAS (M/F): Courtiers, Pages, and Servants

CAROL OF THE BELLES

FANFARE AND WELCOME

(Lights up on main stage.  JESTER enters.  FIONA enters from opposite side, looking harried.)

JESTER:  Merry Christmas and well met, Fiona!

FIONA:  Not well met at all, Jester!

JESTER:  What? But it’s Christmas. What ails you?

FIONA:  This is your first Christmas at the castle, so you wouldn’t understand.

JESTER:  Try me.

FIONA: (Stressed.) The Queen’s cousins are visiting.

JESTER:  So?

FIONA:  They are very rich and very out of touch.

JESTER: Um, doesn’t that describe all the nobles who live in this castle?

FIONA: Yes, but the Queen’s cousins are worse. They are from southern England.

JESTER:  So?

FIONA:  Well, for starters, they are hard to understand.

JESTER:  So, they have an English accent and a southern drawl?

FIONA:  Both!  Can you believe it?  It switches back and forth.  

JESTER: (Confused.) I don’t see how—

FIONA:  And what’s even more aggravating is when they insult me, they always end it with, “Bless your little heart.”

JESTER: (Confused.) Yes, that can be –

FIONA: And the worst of it is, I need butter!

JESTER: (Beat.) All right. You’ve lost me there.

FIONA: Do you have any idea how much butter I need for southern cooking? And it’s the Christmas season! There’s no butter to be had in the entire shire!

(BRASS FANFARE sounds.)

FIONA:  Oh, no.  They’re coming!  I have to get to the kitchen.  The Christmas Belles are very particular about their food!

JESTER: Wait! Did you say the Christmas Belles? Whose singing is . . . infamous throughout the land?

FIONA: Yes, those Christmas Belles. They always change the lyrics, and some of it is—

FIONA/JESTER: Questionable.

FIONA: Bless their little hearts.

JESTER:  I’ve never met them in person.  

FIONA: Well, you’ll meet them soon enough. In the meantime, I’ve got to find butter! (Exits.)

JESTER:  Imagine that. The Christmas Belles are here tonight. This should be fun.

(BRASS FANFARE.) Ah, the court has arrived. 

(Calls to the back of the hall.)
Ready the meal and heat the wassail!
Bring forth the meat and finest of ale!
Blow the clarion!  Singers appear!
The King and his Court are drawing near! (Exits.)

FANFARE AND WASSAIL

(BRASS FANFARE. JESTER enters.)

COURTIER: (Stands.) One full teaspoon of sugar so sweet!

COURTIER: (Stands.) One cup of ice—crushed, battered, and beat!

COURTIER: (Stands.) Ten mint leaves, plus a sprig for the garnish.

COURTIER: (Stands.) Four ounces of bourbon, strong enough to peel varnish.

COURTIER: (Stands.) Add seltzer water –

QUEEN: (Stands.) Wait, wait, wait!  What is this?  Seltzer water? Bourbon? I thought we were serving wassail.

(COURTIERS sit down sheepishly.)

KING: Well, I … have a surprise for you, my dear.

QUEEN: A surprise? (Beat.) Wait a minute. Are you serving mint juleps?

JESTER: Mint juleps? Ooh, that sounds so festive! 

QUEEN:  Are my cousins visiting?

KING: (Hesitantly.) Surprise!

QUEEN: The Christmas Belles are coming here?  Did you invite them?

KING: Well, yes, but—

QUEEN: You know that I don’t get along with them. Why did you invite them here?

KING: They let me know that they were in the area, so I invited them to come. I thought, after all this time … (QUEEN says nothing.) It’s just for the evening.

QUEEN: Fine. But you know that I don’t allow alcohol in the castle.

KING:  I was just trying to make your cousins feel at home.

QUEEN: (Beat.) Oh, all right. We can still serve the mint juleps. 

JESTER: I can’t wait to try one!

QUEEN: Just replace the bourbon with . . . prune juice.

JESTER: (Deflated.) Prune juice? (Aside.) Well, it can peel varnish, too.  

QUEEN: (Glares at JESTER.) It’s healthier.  

KING: Yes, but—

QUEEN: And I bet it tastes better.  

JESTER: It does?

QUEEN: Just ask anyone.  (To audience.)  How many people here want a prune juice mint julep? (Improvise with the reaction.) Come on, raise your hands.

KING:  My dear, no one wants a prune juice mint julep.

QUEEN:  (Points to an audience member.)  Lord Worf raised his hand.

KING:  He has alien tastes.  (Beat.) Right then. I say we just serve wassail.

QUEEN:  An excellent decision, my King.

(SERVANTS enter and pour wassail for the Royal Table.  As SERVANTS distribute wassail to

(After the first course is served. Lights up on main stage. JESTER and FIONA enter from opposite sides of the stage. FIONA carries a small bag.)

JESTER: Fiona! Guess what the Queen wanted to serve our guests!

FIONA: (Looking around.) Not now, Jester! I’m here on important business. I think I found someone who can get me some butter.

JESTER: I thought all the butter was gone.

FIONA: Let’s just say that I know a guy. Lard Cornwall.

JESTER: You mean Lord Cornwall?

FIONA: No, I mean Lard Cornwall. He’s from the South. 

(FIONA finds AUDIENCE MEMBER and crosses to his table.)

JESTER: Lard Cornwall. Never heard of him. (Follows FIONA to the table.)

FIONA: (Looks around then speaks to AUDIENCE MEMBER.) I got your message. Have you got the butter? (Improvise with his answer.) Is that it over there? (Points to bowl of butter on the table. See PRODUCTION NOTES.) Well, it’s not as much as I thought. (Speaks to table.) How many rolls did you all eat, anyway? Does the word “moderation” mean anything to you? Oh, never mind. (Hands bag to AUDIENCE MEMBER.) Here, give me what you’ve got.  Just make sure you get me more.  You know the deal.

JESTER:  What’s the deal?

FIONA:  Lard Cornwall supplies me with twenty pounds of butter; I provide him with the stuff of all his hopes and dreams.

JESTER:  Gold?  Power?

FIONA:  Cream-filled pastries.

JESTER:  A brother after my own heart.

FIONA:  (Takes bag with butter and weighs it in her hand.) Only two more pounds to go, Lard Cornwall.  

JESTER:  But he gave you less than a pound of butter.

FIONA:  He gave me seventeen and a half pounds when he arrived.  

JESTER:  How did he make that much butter?

FIONA:  If you noticed, Lard Cornwall has quite the six-pack.  

JESTER:  (Stares at LARD CORNWALL.)  How could I not notice?  What’s his secret for that six-pack?

FIONA:  His secret is that he uses his abs to churn butter.

JESTER:  Wow.  His stomach must have been churning all night.

FIONA:  That’s why he looks so tired.  You’ve got until the next course to get me my butter, Lard Cornwall.

(FIONA exits. Lights up on Royal Table. JESTER returns to stage. Off-stage, CHRISTMAS BELLES hum “Jingle Bells.”)  

JESTER:  Your Majesty, I hear a strange sound.

KING: (Listens.) Why, it’s the Christmas Belles!  (To QUEEN.) Your cousins have arrived!

QUEEN: (Unenthusiastically.) Oh, goody.

(CHRISTMAS BELLES enter and start singing.)

CHRISTMAS BELLES: (To the tune of “Jingle Bells.”)

Crawling through the snow
In a one-horse open sleigh.
O’er the hills we go,
Screaming all the way.
(Scream, scream, scream)
Belles on bobtail don’t
Know where we’re headin’
For to us an inch of snow is still a snowmagedden

Oh, jangled belles, jangled belles
Jangled and deranged
All this snow, don’t you know, is due to climate change.

Jangled belles, jangled belles
Jangled and deranged
All this snow, don’t you know, is due to climate change.

KING: (Claps enthusiastically.)  Oh, that was wonderful!

JESTER: But the words weren’t right. . . .